decorating your pets for the holidays

Nala ready for the holidays Nala with her dreidel DSC_0042

1. do NOT wrap your pets in Christmas lights unless they have a sense of humor. & have no desire to chew anything up, nor leave them alone with lights.

2. If celebrating more then one holiday at a time, make sure to include both holiday decorations

3. spinning dreidels make GREAT cat toys, while they are spinning.

 

Cold? Itchy? Sick? It is WINTER! A cure for all that ails you…cheap.

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Sounds a bit arrogant, does it not? I happen to be one of those people that think too much. (Thank God for sleep, but…”to sleep-perchance to dream- there’s the rub. for in that sleep of death what dreams may come…”)

Winter is tough on our bodies & wallets. Heat, whether it’s from a gas or electric fireplace or stove…is drying. When i’m cold, i turn up the heat, then, my hair turns to hay, my skin turns to something akin to an alligator w/ a terrible case of poison ivy, my nasal passages burn while my nose runs…AND heating my house costs buckets of cash. Last year, the man in command, kept the thermostat at 65 degrees while the kids were at school– to save money. Yes, dress in many layers (scarves, hats too) helps, (drink tea, coffee, cocoa, eat soups & stews) but i cannot paint with gloves on.  I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home. I’m an artist, photographer & art teacher–i cannot paint if my fingers are blue & will. not. bend.

1. Heating CHEAP…most of us spend our time in one or two rooms when at home. I spend 90% of my time in my art studio. To heat it last year & this, i make my own fireplace, as seen above. I use a cast iron skillet & place candles in glass candle…sticks? Holders?  Whatever, i don’t put them on the skillet b/c its too much work to get the wax off. With the doors closed to my art studio this ‘fireplace’ can heat my room up by (at least) five degrees.

a. Candles are cheap at a dollar store or after a major holiday is over. After Christmas, I load up on candles PACKAGED for the holiday. They still burn even though the holiday is over.

b. To get the wax out/off my holders/candlesticks i put them in the freezer for about an hour. The wax just pops right off.

c. its cozy.

2. Different types of heat…Everyone, i would guess, has heard ‘dry heat’ (think of Arizona) ‘moist heat’ (think of the entire DEEP SOUTH, like, say Alabama)  There is a difference. I know this because i’ve been in Arizona while the thermostat claimed to be 105 degrees, but I live in Alabama and i can tell you 98 degrees with 100% humidity is a hell of a lot hotter. Why? Because the moisture in the air is a tangible, oppressive thing. My point? Humidity helps to keep you warmer.

To add moisture to your house, you can buy a humidifier…but that is cold air & becomes kinda gross after a while. My mom used to put a cast iron pot on top of our stove (the kind you put wood into) & she would refill it a THOUSAND times a day. I don’t have a wood burning stove, but i do have a cooking stove AND a cast iron pot. I fill this heavy-when-empty pot with water (using a pitcher for God’s sake, i can’t lift that thing with water in it) I add, to the water,  a cinnamon stick & some cloves or i add essential oil (i use pine needle, crazy right?) I bring the pot to a boil, then simmer it all day long, refilling it a HUNDRED times a day. When my nose really burns, i put WET cotton towels over 50% of my art room air vent. I remove it when its dry.

a. Water is kinda cheap

b. a cast iron pot is not, but you’ll be able to pass it down throughout the centuries.

c. your house always smells good, so you don’t have to buy scented candles.

d. its cozy.

3. Itchy skin. Ok, i know you’re supposed to put lotion on right after a shower, but really, the lotion is FREEZING & i’d rather get dressed asap. I know there are plenty of things on the market your could buy to use in the shower, but all those products leave moisture on your wet body…then it comes off when you towel it dry.

To stop myself from scratching my itchy skin to the bone, i use…Head & Shoulders for itchy scalp. I wash my body first,…i let the shampoo sit on my skin while i attend to my hay, i mean, hair. Then, get this, I turn the hot water down to warm & rinse. Then i turn it to ice cold so that every pore on my body slams shut, thereby LOCKING in the moisture. Ta da! Hot water may feel SO good, but it’s not really nice to your skin…it cooks away moisture.

a. Head & Shoulder itchy scalp is cheap as a body wash.

b. cold water costs less than hot

c. you may smell delicious to a Koala bear, so…you might want to shower at night but not when you’re about to go on a date…unless it’s with a Koala bear.

d. your house is less dusty because you’re not leaving your skin/scales all over the place. HA! you don’t have to dust as often!

Dry hair. Easy, easy, easy. After i shampoo & condition it, i towel it dry via a towel turban. THEN, i give myself a fifty cent piece sized amount of CONDITIONER (because i bleach the heck out of it) onto my hands & rub it all over my hands & spread the conditioner through my gently brushed hair (always start at the bottom of your hair when brushing, otherwise your ripping knots off) I start at the ends, with the conditioner & work my way up, but not getting any near my scalp (unless its itchy). On days when i don’t have to see another human being, outside my home, I take my wet, slimy hair & put it in to two little buns to air dry. (its cold to have wet hair in winter, wear a scarf) If i do have to leave the house (sigh) I do the same thing with the conditioner BUT then i blow it dry…think about that for a minute…you’re really DRYING OUT YOUR HAIR. Heat dries, Yes, you can buy some expensive crap to make it shiny, but really, there is no need to. After i’ve blown it dry, I grab about a dime size amount of CONDITIONER & start at the ends, working my way up to about…four inches from my scalp. If i go any higher, my hair looks greasy.

a. save TONS OF CASH by NOT buying all the products that do what conditioner does, when used as a ‘heat protector’ ‘add shine’ ‘make your hair thicker’ all those products add moisture.

b. Adding conditioner to your hair before & after you dry it MAKES IT THICKER, you know why? Because your hair acts like your skin, it opens up & moisture is lost, or rather blown away, with your hair dryer. So you are adding the moisture back into it making it healthy again. When you have finished drying your hair ALWAYS use the cool button on it, it LOCKS the moisture & the shine & the style into it.

c. Almost every woman would look cute with two little buns. Men, if your lucky enough to have hair, don’t do any of these things, you will look slimy.

Colds. Ok. So, aside from our mouths, what is the most dangerous part of our bodies? It is the pointer finger of your dominant hand. Yup. It is, you know why? That is the digit we pick our nose with, scratch the inside of our ears with, wipe our tushies with, scratch our body parts with, pick stuff out of your teeth with, stick in our eyes…if i continue with this list of examples, my candles shall all burn out.

What do i do about it? Well, i keep hand sanitizer in my car, i carry my own pen, thank you very much. I use my knuckle of my middle finger to press the elevator button. I use toilet paper to open a public bathroom when i leave it & use a paper towel to open the door to leave the bathroom completely. If they don’t have paper towels, i use my sleeves over my hands (it is winter, so you must be wearing long sleeves? In summer, i use the bottom of my shirt to grab the door handle.) At home? Gosh, i do have children. I use my elbow to flush the toilet & my shirt sleeves to open the bathroom doors…crazy right? If you live alone, don’t bother, you can only infect yourself & if you’re not washing your own hands after using the bathroom just…do.

So people seem to get sicker in the winter. Why do you suppose that is? Well, we tend to stay inside more often. Children are in school with other children. The HEAT is on. With dry heat…well, if you made it this far, then you know, right?

The heat drys out our nasal passages. BUT my nose is always running, how can it dry out with mucus pouring out of it?! Oh, easy, breezy answer there. See, we are all dry & shedding our scales, i mean, skin, faster, the heat is blowing said skin all over the house (as well as dirt, dry paint, fibers from our clothes, dog & cat dander–THINK OF YOUR DRYER LINT CATCHER, your own home does that with dry heat) & up into our dry noses (which are raw & open allowing virus’s to get in easier) causing ALLERGY SYMPTOMS. We sniffle up the watery mucus (watery mucus=allergy mucus) pulling the dry air back into your nose, along with God only knows what (see “most dangerous part of the human body) you can stop this problem by not breathing. It will work, but then you’d be dead. The other way to do this is to use nasal saline, or a moisturizing nose spray, or allergy meds (which can be drying) OR do #2 (don’t be gross) above. Also, consider buying one of those allergy home filters for your furnace, if you have one) Put water on your stove.

a. saline is dirt cheap

b. water in the air is priceless

c. if you keep wiping your runny nose & itchy eyes, your going to pick up a virus someone left with their pointer finger on their dominant hand. How will you know you have a virus, aside from feeling like shit? Well, your mucus will thicken, which will cure your dry nasal passages. Cool, huh?

Sore throat? The second I feel one coming, I take a TABLESPOON of RAW HONEY. Not regular honey, RAW. Raw Honey is thick like peanut butter & usually found in health food stores, like Whole Foods. Raw honey is honey, the honey comb, a probably bee parts whipped up into a yummy concoction of pure, good health. Studies have shown that honey is an antiviral, antibacterial, AND anti-fungal.

a. not cheap, but it will never, ever, ever go bad (see Egyptian mummies honey). The land of milk and Honey…really, they were referring to your health.

b. yummy.

Rash? Like itchy dry skin or poison ivy…i use Vicks VapoRub on my skin. The menthol is an astringent & it has a bit of aspirin,  it has moisture (via the dinosaur…petroleum) AND you smell minty fresh while ridding yourself of whatever is on your skin.

a. cheap

b. great for breathing & sore muscles…a bit like BENGAY

Bumps on your skin? Scales of dry skin? Oh, i use Epsom salt sold for ‘aches & pains’. It is sand paper for your skin, so instead of creating dust, you’re washing it down the drain. I put the epsom salt into my head & shoulders & make my own exfoliate. If Epsom salt is too harsh for your sensitive skin, use arm& hammer baking soda. I use it in my face wash on occasion after learning that is what dermatologists put in there machines to exfoliate sensitive skin.

a. cheap.

b. you’re soft

c. if the epsom salt you buy contains menthol then you can clear out your nose at the same time.

d. less dusting

Thus, i have concluded my thoughts…for now.

Be warm, cozy, breath easier, sleep better, clean less, stop scratching…be healthy.

~amy

And for God’s sake use fire safety tips…don’t leave candles burning unattended. Turn the stove off if you leave the house. If anything i said about putting something on your skin causes a rash, STOP doing it & see a doctor.

A Bat Mitzvah speech written & read by me. Or we conquered Dragons.

Originally posted on 2me4art :

My daughter's picture for Temple bulletin announcing her Bat Mitzvah

My daughter’s picture for Temple bulletin announcing her Bat Mitzvah

I was asked by my Rabbi if I wished to say something wonderful about my daughter during her Bat Mitzvah.  For him to ask me, was a standard question. But for me, it was akin to asking me to fight dragons. Public speaking or fighting dragons is a toss up as far as which I would prefer.  I told him I would think about it.  I used this delaying tactic for a few months.  I didn’t say no, which meant, I wasn’t a bad mother & I didn’t say yes, so I wasn’t  going to throw up on his shoes. Finally, time ran out & he needed an answer.  Yes or No?  From somewhere  I hear,”yes” in my own voice.  I wonder what gave me that last little push.  It was Hannah, the night before, in a smug little grin…

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Christmas ornament art project

Amy Saab:

I made these last year in an art class. It was wonderful fun. Sometimes you find wrapping paper that you want to use forever…why not make a Christmas ornament with it?

Originally posted on 2me4art :

DSC_0001DSC_0004DSC_0002DSC_0006DSC_0007DSC_0011The bird that is mostly glittered with MOD PODGED wings & tail was the idea of the Mom who signed up for the class.  I thought her idea was brilliant & it ended up that I liked her idea more then my own.  She also painted inside the black lines because they couldn’t be drawn over once glittered.  I love learning new things from people who make art with me!  This idea can be used to make Chanukah decorations or any bird for hanging in a window all year long.  MOD PODGEing any paper is wonderful fun.

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